We are at the tipping point

After enduring yet another year of raging wildfires, record breaking temperatures, and dwindling stream flows, it is of utmost importance to enact bills that favor the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Last year we witnessed how climate change ravaged through our forest and public lands. We are at the tipping point and although scientists have warned us for years that this would happen, we have all collectively found ourselves in a ‘now or never situation’. This is what happens when science is ignored. In some shape or form, we are all going to experience the negative effects of climate change. Unfortunately, some of us already are.

However, not all hope is lost. The Transportation Funding bill will be one of many pieces of legislation that will help curtail GHG emissions. In Colorado, the largest source of GHG pollution is the transportation sector. Achieving Colorado’s 2030 GHG emissions target will require changes in the way we chose to commute in addition to changes in transportation infrastructure. Revamping the transportation system in Colorado would also decrease local air pollution that disproportionately impacts communities of color and low social economic status. Improving access to public transportation, increasing the gas tax, and allowing for equity in access to electric vehicles are some examples that can help Colorado accomplish it’s 2030 emissions target.

Senator Chris Hansen and Representative Donald Valdez, I thank you both for championing bills that favor the environment. Senators Robert Rodriquez and James Coleman, I ask that you do the same this legislative session. Thank you.

Stephanie Valencia-Gaeta

Denver

Environmental education

I implore the current legislature to account for an equitable expansion of the public transit network in the future transportation funding bill. Simply expanding roads and highways will not solve issues with our current infrastructure and provide affordable education to those living in low-income urban neighborhoods. Environmental justice is social justice and the state of Colorado must make actionable steps to help Colorado citizens learn about the effects of current environmental impacts.

Expanding environmental education to marginalized communities is not a lack of valuable programming, but a problem with accessibility. It is baffling how organizations across Denver offer a variety of discounts and free days to reach those in need of assistance, yet no amount of discounts matter if we could not get people to our site.

If we cannot connect citizens to the resources Denver has to offer, then we are failing to educate our citizens on environmental health and impacts of living in an urban environment.

Environmental education opportunities should not be a privilege saved for the upper middle class. It is our duty as allies to those across socioeconomic class and racial diversity to create a moveable, equitable city. I call on state senators Rodriguez and Coleman to create a more sustainable transportation system in Colorado that can benefit all.

Elisabeth Mahoney

Wheat Ridge

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